Marcus Nicholls lists twelve of military modelling must-haves; here’s the first 12, check out Issue No.2 of MiM-afv to see 13 more!

As modellers, we love our esoteric materials, products, tools and other stuff that makes our modelling lives easier, better and more satisfying. Here’s a list of what I think are some of the most irreplaceable modelling products – ones I just can’t live without.

1 – Daco Decal Setting Strong Version solution

In my humble opinion, the best decal setting solution bar-none. I have yet to meet a marking that won’t succumb to its mysterious chemical powers.

Where to buy?

ultra.glo.be/daco

No.1 Daco solution

No.1 Daco solution

2 – Tamiya X21 Flat Base

Turns pretty much any gloss or satin acrylic model paint into a matt one. Makes gloss paints dry flat and flat paints dry even flatter. Extremely useful for achieving the very matt lustre needed to realistically depict fabric.

Where to buy?

Good model shops

No.2 Tamiya X21

No.2 Tamiya X21

3 – Johnson’s Klear (Future)

Just who was the first person to spray their model with this stinky domestic floor polish? We will never know, but it works so well it has become a staple of the modeller’s chemistry set, formula changes notwithstanding.

Where to buy?

Supermarkets

No3. Johnson's Klear

No3. Johnson’s Klear (Future)

4 – Xtracrylix Flat Varnish

You’ve glossed up your model, applied your decals, and if you’ve been really good, washed off the glue residue too. Now, how to get it back to matt again? This stuff, no contest.

Where to buy?

hannants.co.uk

No.4 Xtracrylix Flat Varnish XAFF

No.4 Xtracrylix Flat Varnish XAFF

5 – Mr Hobby Cement S

Tamiya’s Extra Thin was the title holder for many years, but we think Mr Hobby’s ‘Cement S’ solvent tops it for capillary flow, speed of drying and strength of final bond, making it the best out there for styrene kits.

Where to buy?

modeldesignconstruction.co.uk

No.5 Mr Cement S

No.5 Mr Cement S

6 – Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rubber 306

Yes, yes, it’s just dark grey I hear you say, but it’s a really neat dark grey that looks exactly like rubber when dry and it brush-paints like no other paint. Simply brilliant. Buy lots.

Where to buy?

creativemodels.co.uk

No.6 Vallejo Dark Rubber 306

No.6 Vallejo Dark Rubber 306

7 – Swann Morton No.11 blade

What more can be said about this devilishly sharp standard blade? Hard to see why you’d ever use anything else. Elegantly simple; ‘less is more’ is its family motto.

Where to buy?

Good model shops

No.7 Swann-Morton No.11 blade & No.3 handle

No.7 Swann-Morton No.11 blade & No.3 handle

8 – Tamiya Magnifying Visor

None of us are getting younger, not even me. Eyes need some help when you hit your 40s and Tamiya’s magnifier is one of the best close-up vision aids currently on sale. Not cheap, but essential for the, erm, ‘mature’ modeller.

Where to buy?

greatmodels.com

No.8 Tamiya viewer

No.8 Tamiya viewer

9 – CA glue and accelerator

Scale modelling was transformed when cyanoacrylate or ‘superglue’ went mainstream, and thus fell in price. Allows the fusing of resin, metal and pretty much any other metal to kit plastic. Accelerator a smelly but convenient way to speed its setting. The inventor, Harry Wesley Coover Jr, died a couple of years ago at the grand old age of 94 – hats off to you sir! Or perhaps not..

Where to buy?

Good model shops

No.9 Bob Smith Industries cyanoacrylate glue

No.9 Bob Smith Industries cyanoacrylate glue

10 – Punch and die set

You won’t use this cunning device all that often in general modelling, but when you need to make rivets, bolts or any raised, circular or hexagonal protuberance, nothing comes close, particularly when you need lots of them, all the same size.

Where to buy?

historex-agents.com

No.10 Historex punch & die set

No.10 Historex punch & die set

11 – Mig Productions weathering pigments

Ground-up pastels have been used to add a dust and dried mud to models for years, but Mig Productions’ pigments make things easy with their much finer grain and some very modeller-friendly tones.

Where to buy?

creativemodels.co.uk

No.11 Mig Productions pigments

No.11 Mig Productions pigments

12 – Clear resin lenses

One of the simplest ways of making a big improvement to a model vehicle, and available in a huge range of sizes, colours and more recently, shapes.

Where to buy?

little-cars.co.uk

No.12 clear resin lenses

No.12 clear resin lenses

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